Zen Gifts for a Christian
A Buddha Tree
- In general, when giving a gift across religious lines, it is best not to choose an item that bears likeness to a human figure, especially one identifiable with one particular form of worship. For example, carved images of the Buddha sitting under a Bohdi tree is a familiar icon of this religion and consequently is frequently exchanged as a gift among Buddhist families. Though this familiar symbol may not be appropriate for a Christian, an actual Bodhi plant could be an excellent choice for a present. In Buddhist beliefs, Siddharta sat under the Bodhi tree for many days and in the process became enlightened. In actuality, the Bohdi tree is a type of Asian fig that bears the Latin name, Ficus religiosa. Moreover, the woody plant can be easily grown from a seedling to create an indoor shrub. If grown outdoors in a warm climate, the tree will exceed the height of a man and also bear fruit.
An Oriental Print
- Ink drawings executed on paper with Sumi ink and special brushes have long been cherished in households all across Japan and neighboring countries in Eastern Asia. Like the Bodhi tree, these wall hangings can make excellent gifts to Christians. Landscapes, a still life, Asian architecture and rural scenes with people are images that are popular in many cultures.
A Children's Book
- Storytelling is common to all cultures, and the Buddhist tradition is no exception. In fact, the Zen Buddhist oral and written record abounds with the adventures and everyday actions of monks, living and working among the native population of Asia. Less known are collections of animal stories intended as fun narratives and guidance for both young and old. One such conglomeration is published by Zen Tails in Australia and includes such titles as "No Presents Please," "Happiness Is Sharing" and "Wisdom Is Listening." Zen instructional stories, also known as koans, are widely available to English language readers of all ages as well.
- One of the most common Buddhist practices is the tea ceremony. Fortunately, this is also a non-ceremonious act that can be enjoyed by everyone. For this reason, a tea pot and set of saucers and cups can make for a popular and universal gift.